Pakistani Christian Anjum Sandhu who was facing the death penalty after being accused of blasphemy has been acquitted.
According this lawyer the case against Sandhu was fabricated.
The case began in May 2015 when Sandhu, from Gujranwala in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, went to the police to seek protection from blackmailers and extortion of 20,000 rupees (£122) from him by Javed Naz and Jafar Ali.
Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Bushra Zaman sentenced Sandhu and two other suspects Javed Naz and Jafar Ali to death.
Sandhu has also been fined 500,000 rupees. The other two have been also been sent to prison for 35 years and fined 80,000 rupees each.
He was accused of blasphemy by the men. They produced a recording saying it was evidence that Sandhu had ‘used blasphemous words’ at one of his schools.
Sandhu said he was blackmailed with the recording by the men, who threatened ‘dire consequences’ if he did not give them more money.
When Sandhu protested to the police, his case was not heard, and orensic scientists convinced a judge that it was Sandhu’s voice in the recording.
He was subsequently sentenced for blasphemy, in June 2016.
But an appeal judge found there was no evidence that Sandhu wanted to discuss religion and the lack of voice recognition facility at the Lahore forensics laboratory meant the speech could not be attributed to Sandhu for certain.
“The influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated.”...
- Pope Emeritus Benedict
“There is a very clear sense that people are nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a tool of politics or “…a mob thing […] ” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops. He earlier told reporters: “Equality under the law is important…”...
- Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
“The law for punishing blasphemy against the Prophet (sws) that is invoked in Pakistan has no foundation in the Qur'ān or Hadith.”...
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Renowned Quranic scholar & Islamic modernist theologist
“The problem is not so much the idea of a law against blasphemy, as about a law whose penalty is so severe and whose practice gives so much scope for allowing people to settle private scores.” ...
- Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury